Many people know Adam Trest's name— the southern illustrator of Erin Napier's newest children's book, The Lantern House, and practically Home Town's resident artist. His family is well known in Laurel, as they've been on Home Town a few times as well, including his relative Brooke Davis-Jefcoat and his sister-in-law and brother, Dawn and Michael Trest. Even his niece, Anne, is the inspiration behind the I Live In Laurel children's book (which he also illustrated!)
His folksy artwork, filled with landscapes, animals, and florals, has gained the attention of HGTV viewers and gallery collectors alike. If you've seen his work, you understand why. It feels fantastical, interpretive yet simplistic and charming. Beautiful, complex, and full of story-telling possibilities. Everyone can find their story hidden beneath his brush strokes.
One thing that goes quietly unnoticed underneath the pastel palette is the people who inspire him to create. The nature around him, his daughters, and their imagination often persuade his work. His spirit to create and contribute something impactful for his home state, like the great southern artists before him, pushes him to keep imagining. Yet the person that contrives his best work and moves him forward with her steady stream of support is his beloved wife, Lily.
Lily Trest is a wife and mother of two beautiful girls and soon-to-be three.
She's an expert in many things, but she'll never admit it or let you call her an "expert." Her humble and quiet spirit makes her one of the most hospitable people to talk to, and her vast life experience makes the most interesting conversationalists.
Lily says, "I was a food science major in college, and I have a dual degree from Mississippi State and The W, Mississippi University for Women."
She jokes that she never worked a day in the food science field, other than the mean peach ice cream she made for her wedding, but she discovered that her problem-solving skills still came in handy.
After college, she became a manager at Target corporate and received excellent training in their managerial program. Then she tried her hand in the classroom as a teacher for three years. She then managed the Adam Trest store Downtown until they closed it to have more time with their family. She taught at Central Creativity and continued to work in education in different capacities — homeschooling, private schooling, and other creative outlets.
Lily says, "The only common thread has been Adam's artwork throughout all of my work experience."
When Adam and Lily married in 2012, she knew that art was the path he would take, and she just assumed the role of supporter without really understanding how being a "supporter" would play out.
She supported Adam best by pursuing her interests, working hard in whatever she did, and nurturing the interests of their family. She decided to come home and assume the responsibilities with their girls and help Adam manage the business side of his art, and an opportunity providentially fell into their lap.
Kim Caron, the owner of The Caron Gallery in Tupelo, Mississippi, is a proud supporter of Mississippi artists, and Adam Trest was an artist in her gallery and a new, dear friend. Lily and Adam became close to Kim and saw that South Mississippi could use a gallery of its own. One conversation about opening a Caron Gallery South sealed the deal, and as Lily would say, the Lord intervened, and that was that.
Lily says, "That conversation happened in November 2021, and then we started moving into the space in January 2022; it was swift! The real driving force behind the Caron Gallery South comes from my experience supporting Adam. After ten years of learning, we've realized that a gallery is one of the best ways to support an artist."
A gallery's job is to promote an artist, to hopefully sell more work than the artist could sell on their own by having access to a bigger audience. The Trests hope to allow Mississippi artists to pursue their passions fully without worrying about how to sell their work or market themselves.
"They need to be painting and doing what they love and let people that can't paint, like me, sell it for them," she jokes.
Today the Caron Gallery South sits in a gorgeous home across the street from Bird Dog Cafe and neighbors the Bookshop in the Window: Christian Bookstore on Short 7th Avenue.
Lily and Adam spend a lot of time together, as she manages and curates the gallery, and he works in his art studio in the back corner room. Lily's dream of supporting Adam and artists like him have become a reality as their white walls are home to Mississippi artists from all over the state.
She enjoys giving tours, sharing the stories and the processes of the twenty-something artists, whose work graces their presence each day.
All mediums are represented here, like tapestry weaving by Kim Whitt, acrylic and oils by Mary Buckley, Shelley Bolton, Ricardo Moody, and the famous homes painted by John Armistead.
Others include Ann Seale, Ali Stayer, Buttons Marchetti, Cathy Talbot, Katie Daniel, Catron Wallace, Charles Guess, Church Goin Mule, Cindy Parker Aunt, David Johnson, Ellen Langford, Gary Walters, Ginny Futvoye, Judy Tucci, Kim Whitt Kat Fitzpatrick, Ke Francis, Lauren Dunn, Lee Gibson, Leigh Frances, Lisa Thames, Maria Hughes, Mary Parker Buckley, Michael Ashley, Michelle Allee, Mitchell Walters, Nicole Dikon, Pat Gavin, Paul Fayard, Peyton Hutchinson, Rachel Misener, Robin Whitfield, Sadako Lewis, Shelby Kizer, Shelby Toole, Susan Wellington and more.
We're so thankful for people like Lily who see the value in art and support artists all over our state. Consider wandering through the Caron Gallery South on a lazy afternoon and appreciate the artwork that will color Mississippi history in decades to come. You'll be greeted by a friendly face at the door and don't be surprised when you discover a black labradoodle or two in search of attention at your feet.
You can learn more about the Caron Gallery South at www.thecarongallery.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!